Nintendo Direct (February 2022) Review
Contributed by DJMMT
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Nintendo does the best digital presentations by a Hyrule mile. Say what you want about the selection of games shown but consider the logistical facts of this most recent Nintendo Direct. They stealth announced that direct a day before it aired. No longwinded marketing hype build-up. No dramatic announcement announcing the announcement of announcements. Just a tweet saying “Hey we’re releasing a YouTube video tomorrow. Check it out if you’re curious.” If nothing else, you have to respect that level of nonchalance from such a large company.
They didn’t softball this Direct in either. They showed 30 announcements in 40 minutes, all releasing this year. And several of the games were first time announcements. Some for huge IPs. That’s insanity. Nintendo don’t GAF. Sony and Microsoft just don’t have the confidence to play at that level of subtlety. But enough of that. Let’s talk about the actual announcements. There were several, and I’ve provided the trailers here as well.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes (June 24)
To be honest, I haven’t played Fire Emblem: Three Houses, or any Fire Emblem game for that matter. I have nothing against the franchise. In fact, I’ve always been interested in the franchise from a distance. But it’s such a long running franchise at this point that I just don’t want to try to jump in so late in the game. I have only heard great things about Three Houses. The decision to make a Musou game based on this IP makes sense in the wake of the success of games like Hyrule Warriors. But man am I tired of Musou games. The model is so over done at this point and hasn’t done much in the way of innovation in so long. I got Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which I still haven’t played, but that was only because I played the original Hyrule Warriors and didn’t hate the Age of Calamity demo. But honestly I’m not excited for more games in this genre. I’m sure Three Hopes will be a fine Musou game, but at this point I’m just not fine with Musou games.
Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp (April 8)
I never played the original Advance Wars, because it was a handheld exclusive game back then. But I remember it and I wanted to play it. I’m glad to see both games getting remade. And there will be a physical release, which I wasn’t sure was going to happen. What I really like about turn based tactical games is that the gameplay never really goes out of style. I know these will play great for someone who actually likes the genre. I’m definitely going to pick up the physical version.
No Man’s Sky (Summer 2022)
It’s very late in the timeline of this game to finally be coming to Switch, but it’s nice to see it expanding to more players. I have NMS on PS4, but have never actually played it. I know it has improved immensely over the years and I do plan to try it out some day. Glad to see it being made available on Switch even if I don’t think it will do particularly well so late in the game’s release.
Mario Strikers: Battle League (June 10)
I never got into the original Mario Strikers, and I don’t really play most of the Mario sports games, save for Mario Kart of course, but this game looks great for those who are fans of the franchise. Eight player local matches with 10 player online, clubs, and gear customization is impressive. It definitely seems like the Smash Bros. of sports, which is exactly how Nintendo should be trying to sell a Mario soccer game in 2022. I won’t be buying it, but I hope there’s a playable demo.
Splatoon 3 (Summer)
I have been playing Splatoon since the beginning and I’ve always been a big fan, but I’ve become less and less interested in PVP games over the years, so while I bought two, I was much more interested in the single player campaign than the competitive play. The paid story DLC really soured me on the game though. I never bought it, though I did want to play it. Splatoon 3 looks quite good and I’m really interested in the Salmon Run: Next Wave mode showed in this latest trailer. They seem to be taking the story a lot more seriously as the franchise develops, which is great. But honestly I don’t think I’ll be buying 3 because without having played the DLC from 2, the story will feel incomplete for me. I don’t like seeing Nintendo go down the Sony and Microsoft path of charging for story DLC. I remember when they didn’t do paid DLC at all. Sad times we now live in. I’m sure this game will be just as good as the previous titles, but I’m most likely going to pass.
Front Mission 1st: Remake (Summer)
Just like with Advance Wars, I never played the original Front Mission. Unlike with Advance Wars, this franchise just never really appealed to me as a kid. I’m not really sure why, since I’ve always loved mech games, but it just wasn’t a franchise I cared to get involved in. The remake looks solid and they’ve already announced that they will be remaking the second game in the series as well. There are several games in the series, including the more recent Left Alive, which didn’t do that well either critically or in sales. I’m probably not gonna pick up these remakes but I’m confident they will be pretty good for fans of the franchise.
Disney Speedstorm (Summer)
A free to play Disney version of Mario Kart makes perfect sense in this IP driven metaverse hellscape we now find ourselves in. It’s a game no one asked for that we certainly don’t need, but it’s not surprising when you consider just how many pointless kart racer games tied to famous IPs there actually are. Nintendo invented it with Mario Kart, back when it was a fresh idea. Everything since then has been a copy. Some of the copies were better than others, but nothing truly compares to the original. Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Nickelodeon, and so many others have kart racers now. But at least Disney isn’t charging for theirs. What I will commend them for is that it has full cross platform play and seasonal content. I’m sure it will be riddled with microtransactions. Probably both cosmetic and for unlocking new characters. I’m not going to play this, but I’m sure plenty of kids will want to play a game where they can race as their favorite Pixar character.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Port (April 20)
I remember playing The Force Unleashed on PS2. I was a freshman in college and thought the game looked and played amazingly. But these graphics have not aged well. That trailer in the Direct made me cringe. I’m sure the gameplay still works but it looks atrocious. And it’s only from 2008. There are plenty of games from before that which still look solid enough. I don’t remember if the original game had local PVP, so that feature is pretty cool. But really this seems like an unnecessary port. I feel like a port or cloud port of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order would be a much more sensible project to focus on at this point. I will say, and this wasn’t fully expressed in the Direct trailer but was in the Direct YouTube playlist trailer, the additional of motion controls with the joy-cons is awesome. I’d love to see a new Star Wars game that makes use of those mechanics.
Assassin’s Creed: Ezio Collection Port (February 17)
Again, this seems like a port that just isn’t necessary at this point. These are some of the best games the Assassin’s Creed series has to offer, so I’m not knocking the games. But is anyone really trying to play these Assassin’s Creed titles in 2022? It’s cool that they’re incorporating everything, including two animated films, but this just seems like a pointless use of resources. I don’t even know if calling this a cash grab is appropriate, because I just don’t see the profitability of these specific ports at this point. If they were full remakes with modernized gameplay, that would be something. But that’s not what this is.
SD Gundam Battle Alliance (This Year)
There are so many Gundam titles at this point that’s it’s hard for me to even be able to keep track of them anymore. And a surprising number of them are free to play as well. All I really took from this trailer was chibi gundams, which is the point of the SD Gundam franchise, and online cooperative play. I’m not going to get involved in this game, but I’m sure someone wants to play it.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition (April 7)
It’s very cool to me that Chrono Cross and Radical Dreamers are both coming to Switch. It’s a much deserved port. But this just makes it even weirder that Chrono Trigger is not available on Switch. I’m not sure why it’s not in the Nintendo Switch Online library. With that game being made available, you’ll be able to play the entire Chrono series on Switch. I really like that they’ve decided to include Radical Dreamers with this rather than make it a separate online only purchase. I also really like that they added a hack to let you turn off enemy encounters in Chrono Cross. I still need to play Chrono Trigger on the PC port. Once I finish that, I’ll probably pick this up.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land (March 25)
Words cannot express how excited I am to play this new Kirby game. Mouthful Mode looks hilarious and the entire game looks both beautiful and amazing. The only thing stopping me from making this a day one purchase is that I’m still not even close to done with Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which is also amazing. I love Kirby games and I’m really excited to play this one.
MLB The Show 2022 Port (April 5)
I don’t care about MLB The Show, and I’m not sure why anyone on Switch would either, but I do like to see these major franchises being made available on Switch. It’s cool that it has both cross platform play and cross progression between platforms. And I really appreciate that it’s playable with a single joy-con. That being said, I will absolutely not be buying this and I honestly can’t say I personally know any Switch owners who will either.
Kingdom Hearts Cloud Collection (Available Now)
I don’t see any reason why these games are available as cloud purchases. That’s just a bad move on Square Enix’s part. It’s cool to be able to play these games on the go. It’s also cool that they’re separated them into 3 individual collections, in case you only want to replay a certain part of the franchise. But making these cloud purchases just sours the whole thing. I wouldn’t have bought these anyway, since I have the All-in-One collection on PS4, but the cloud thing still really disappoints me.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series (July 8)
You can add this to the list of games I absolutely don’t need and yet will almost certainly buy. I remember these games back in the day, but I never got the chance to play them. Having both games ported in a single collection that can be played in handheld mode on Switch is great. I’m excited to finally play the Klonoa series in its entirety.
Portal Companion Collection (This Year)
While I would never have expected to see these games ported to Switch, they’re absolutely games that will be great on Switch. I’m not going to buy them, as I’ve beaten them both already, but I’m glad that a whole new generation of players will get to experience the greatness that is the Portal series, and be able to play on the go. Portal 2 has both online and split screen multiplayer modes. That alone almost makes me want to buy it again.
Live A Live (July 22)
I’ve never heard of this game before, as it was a Japanese only release, but it looks awesome. Multiple stories in one JRPG set in completely different time periods with different gameplay. The remake in HD2D makes it even better. I’m pretty sure I’m going to pick this one up. I’ll wait for a sale though, because that price is surprisingly high for what this game appears to be.
Nintendo Switch Sports (April 29)
I remember the original Wii Sports. I remember how much my whole family played it. I remember how revolutionary the motion controls were. But I also remember that it came free with my Nintendo Wii. I never bought Wii Sports Resort, though I wanted to play it, because paying for that game just seemed wrong. This continuation of the franchise is cool. It looks really good and has a lot of features I’m happy to see. Like online games with random players. Six sports with at least one more on the way. Motion controls with both leg and arm control. And a revolution to the avatars (miis) of old. This looks like a great continuation of the series. But I’m not sure I’m comfortable paying $40.00 to play it.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival (This Year)
I really like that this franchise exists. I have Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session! on PS4 and Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun! on Switch. The fact that they’ve added a story mode to the concept just makes it better. And there are other cool features in this upcoming installment like a practice mode that lets you play specific sections of songs, four player modes, and PVP. 76 tracks is great when you consider Just Dance 2022 only has 45 songs total with multiple repeats. I’m not into single game subscription services, but a subscription that gives you access to 500 tracks is cool, depending on the price, which hasn’t been revealed yet.
Triangle Strategy (March 4)
Very few games have a title as bad as Triangle Strategy. What’s cool is that the new demo, available now, lets you play through chapter 3 of the game. I didn’t love the prologue demo, but I was intrigued to play more. I didn’t play Octopath Traveler, as the demo didn’t do it for me. I feel like the problem with these games is that they drag on too much. Yes, they are classic JRPG style games, but the amount of talking in today’s fast paced world, especially when playing in handheld mode, is just too much. People don’t have that kind of time anymore. I’ll also say that Triangle Strategy’s first demo was really difficult. Those battles take real skill of tactical play to get through. Sometimes to the point of being more annoying than fun. Though they did say in previous announcements that they had adjusted some of it to account for survey feedback. I’ll definitely play through this new demo before making a final decision.
Cuphead DLC (June 30)
I’m very excited for Cuphead DLC. This was announced long before this Direct, but it’s still nice to see it included here to confirm for Switch players. I have the game on PC, but I actually wish I had it on Switch instead. If they did a discounted bundle with the DLC, I could see myself picking that up. Though I doubt I’d want to replay the entire game, because that shit was hard!
Metroid Dread Free Update (Available Now)
Dread Mode sounds insane. I beat Metroid Dread, though in general I’m not a huge Metroid fan, and I thought the game was very good. The only thing that was really tough were the boss fights. And even those were mostly fair, save for the first boss and the final boss. But there is no way I could beat that game with single hit death. Maybe if it was single hit death for enemies as well, but just me there’s no way. I wouldn’t even try it. Rookie Mode seems unnecessary outside of boss fights, but I don’t have a problem with it, since it will make the speed run for the unlockables way more manageable, assuming the unlockables still apply in that mode. It’s also cool to hear that they’re adding a boss rush mode later, but I don’t personally have any interest in playing it.
EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings (Available Now)
I think it’s really cool that these games are finally available on Nintendo Switch and included in the NSO subscription. I’ve tried to play EarthBound on the SNES Classic previously and I got bored. But maybe with this more convenient format I’ll actually finish it. Not much more I can say about this announcement.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War (April 26)
A port of a year old zombie game is fine I guess. I won’t be playing it though.
GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon (Available Now)
I didn’t realize this was a sequel/spiritual successor to an old Famicom game. I discovered this after doing more research and learning that the deluxe edition comes with the original game with a number of added features and an English translation of the menu. Though the in-game text is still only in Japanese. This trailer really stood out to me, even though it was only about 20 seconds. There are actually 2 much longer trailers on Nintendo’s YouTube channel and an even longer one on Konami’s YouTube channel, which I included here instead of the one from the Direct. This game looks really cool. Seems like a mixture of Nioh and Rogue Legacy. I’m definitely going to pick up the Deluxe Edition in a sale. Note it’s also available on Steam in Early access.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles (June 10)
That title is too long, but otherwise it’s cool to see this game being ported to Switch. I’ll still ultimately end up buying it for PS4, but I’m glad to see it arriving on this platform.
LEGO Brawls (June)
This is a mobile game from 2019 I’ve never heard of. The fact that it’s being ported to Switch seems a bit backwards, but not unheard of. Among Us comes to mind. Just like with Disney Speedstorm, this seems very unnecessary. But it’s also coming to PlayStation and XBOX platforms, so everyone is getting in on that LEGO metaverse money.
Two Point Campus (May 17)
I’ve never played Two Point Hospital but it’s interesting that the franchise seems to be successful enough to grow into other games now. This second game in the franchise didn’t really get much information in the Direct considering it’s releasing just three months from announcement. But again, the additional trailer in the playlist was way more informative.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass (2022 – 2023)
It just seems annoying and unnecessary to do six waves of DLC rollouts for what’s just ports/recreations of already existing Mario Kart courses from older games in the franchise. Don’t get me wrong. I like the fact that these courses are being added. This is way better than the Mario Party Superstars scenario where you have to buy a whole new game just to play older content that would work just fine as DLC in the latest installment of the series. But they should just drop it all at once and call it a day. The $25 price tag seems high for courses that already exist. If it was 48 new courses, that would absolutely be worth the money, because that’s essentially a new Mario Kart game at that point. What I do really like is that this content is included in the NSO Expansion Pass. They’re finally starting to make that pass have some actual value. I’d love to see all future 1st party Nintendo DLC included in the pass automatically. Then it would absolutely be worth buying, assuming they keep putting out DLC. I also think it’s hilarious that Disney probably paid to have Nintendo feature their kart racer in this directly only to have it shot down before even releasing with this announcement.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (September)
What a strong finish to a solid Nintendo Direct. It’s crazy to think that you can now get Xenoblade Chronicles 1 – 3 plus DLC all on Switch. I hope they release a bundle collection so I can just buy them all in one shot for a manageable price. The game looks true to form for the franchise and I’m sure it will be up to the standards of its predecessors.
This was a long post, but that’s kind of the point. Nintendo crams so many meaningful announcements into a single Direct without even taking the time to really hype them up beforehand. You have to respect that level on confidence in their brand. Personally, I thought this was a good Direct. There are a lot of ports and remakes, but the bulk of the announcements were for games I wasn’t aware or new information that actually had an impact. I’m for sure buying several of the titles shown in this Direct that I wasn’t completely sold on buying before watching it.
What did you think of this Direct?